PHILADELPHIA – The fourth-seeded Saint Joseph's women's lacrosse squad (10-7, 6-3 A-10) will face fifth-seeded VCU (7-9, 4-5 A-10) in the 2019 Atlantic 10 Championship quarterfinals this Thursday, April 25. Opening draw control is set for 1:00 p.m. at George Mason Stadium in Fairfax, Va.
The Hawks are making their fourth consecutive A-10 postseason appearance under the direction of fifth-year head coach Alex Kahoe and have reached the semifinals in each of the last three seasons.
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Saint Joseph's enters the match-up averaging 13.88 goals per game, led by senior attacker Francesca Donato, the A-10 leader in total points (78), points per game (4.59), assists (38), and assists per game (2.24). Sophomore attacker Stephanie Kelly also ranks in the conference's top-five in both total points (66) and assists (34).
VCU allows 14.07 goals per game and puts up 12.81 scores per contest, led by Sky Hyatt (45g), who scores at least once per game on eight-meter opportunities. The Hawks will go up against Rams goalkeeper Ria Peralta, who leads the league in both total saves (184) and saves per game (11.50) and ranks third in save percentage (.471).
VCU went 7-9 overall and 3-4 in non-conference action; the Rams opened up the year with three wins in their first four contests, with a victory over Old Dominion, 13-10, an 11-8 loss vs. UMBC, and back-to-back wins over Longwood, 18-13, and LIU Brooklyn, 21-12, before dropping three in a row to Army, 14-12, then-#20 Notre Dame, 15-4, and William and Mary, 17-13, to close non-conference play.
VCU went 4-5 in league play, winning the A-10 opener over Duquesne, 21-16, before dropping five in a row to UMass, 22-14, Saint Joseph's, 17-13, La Salle, 12-6, Richmond, 14-8, and George Washington, 18-8. The Rams then won their last three, over St. Bonaventure, 17-5, Davidson, 16-15 in overtime, and George Mason, 13-12, this past Saturday; their win over the Patriots clinched their spot in the A-10 postseason.
Of note, VCU is 0-5 on the road, but 1-0 in neutral-site match-ups.
Sky Hyatt (44g, 13a), Molly Barcikowski (32g, 24a), and Keriann McTavish (30g, 15a) lead the Rams in scoring while Caroline Glenn leads VCU in ground balls (40) and draw controls (38). Goalkeeper Ria Peralta (6-9) sports a .473 save percentage and 14.25 goals against average in 821:15.
VCU went 7-11 overall and 5-4 in conference play last year, falling to Davidson in the A-10 Tournament First Round.
HISTORY OF THE HAWKS/RAMS SERIES
Thursday's game will mark the fifth all-time meeting between Saint Joseph's and VCU, and the Hawks are a perfect 4-0 all-time against the Rams since the initial meeting in 2016. On March 29 of this season, SJU defeated VCU, 17-13, on Sweeney Field; junior midfielder Bridget Cerciello scored a career-high five goals and earned eight key draw controls and senior attacker Francesca Donato posted a game-high seven points (2g, 5a) to lead the Hawks to the victory. Sophomore midfielder Taylor Newman-Farr and freshman attacker Lauren Figura added hat tricks while senior attacker Hayley Sabol and freshman midfielder Sophia Kolkka went for two goals and two helpers apiece.
With a win on Thursday, Saint Joseph's would advance to the semifinals to face top-seeded UMass on Friday, April 26 at 1:00 p.m. The title game is set for Sunday, April 28 at noon.
ALL THEY DO IS WIN, WIN, WIN
In SJU's 21-6 road victory over Duquesne back on March 24, Saint Joseph's senior class of Ally Beck, Sinead Brierley, Francesca Donato, Rebecca Lane, and Hayley Sabol became the all-time winningest class in program history, with 38 career wins. They now sit at 42... and counting.
Photos from Senior Day are now for sale, here.
Saint Joseph’s has scored assisted goals 132 times this season, a single-season program record. Senior attacker Francesca Donato (38a) and sophomore attacker Stephanie Kelly (34a) have combined for 55 percent of those assists, with 72, and rank first and second, respectively, in single-season assists on Hawk Hill. Senior attacker Hayley Sabol (13) and junior midfielder Penny Green (7) have combined for 20 more.
POINT IT OUT
With her first goal in SJU's regular-season finale at Richmond on April 19, senior attacker Francesca Donato notched her 77th point of the season, a new single-season program record. She went on to score again to up her record to 78 points heading into postseason play.
"ATTACKING" THE POINTS MILESTONE
With her fourth goal (and fifth point) of the game in SJU's 16-8 win over Villanova on March 2, senior attacker Rebecca Lane reached her 200th career point to become only the second Hawk in program history to reach the 200-point mark, joining Shannon Feite '97 (243). Senior attacker Francesca Donato (at then-#17 Johns Hopkins on March 6), senior attacker Hayley Sabol (vs. George Washington on April 5), and sophomore attacker Stephanie Kelly (vs. Davidson on April 7) all reached their 100th career points this spring.
In her second season as a team captain, senior attacker Rebecca Lane has had a standout career for the Crimson and Gray. Through 58 career games played, she owns 209 points (second all-time at SJU), 125 goals (fifth all-time), and 84 assists (first all-time). She totaled at least 58 points in each of her first three seasons - going for 36g and 22a as a rookie back in 2016 (A-10 Rookie of the Year), 35g and 31a as a sophomore in 2017 (A-10 Second Team), and 36g and 25a last spring (A-10 First Team).
Taylor Newman-Farr is from a military family with military aspirations of her own. From excelling in her JROTC program at South Lakes High School to working toward becoming a nurse in the Air Force, SJU's starting sophomore midfielder has her eyes set on taking the world by storm. Read the full feature here: tinyurl.com/GoingFarr22.
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